Undergraduate Courses

Summer 2022

Foundations of Black Studies:

BLST 3 "Introduction to African Studies" with Dr. Jude Akudinobi

MTW 8:00am-9:25am

Course Description: A survey of the subject matter, themes, and methods of African Studies. While briefly surveying the prehistory and early states of Africa, the course focuses on the culture and society of the colonial and independence eras.


Black Culture

BLST 126 "Comparative Black Literature" with Dr. Jude Akudinobi

MTW 9:30am-10:55am

Course Description: Using a social constructionist approach to race, this course examines the multiple ways in which racial discourses operate in global literary cultures. It emphasizes that blackness need not be a homogeneous concept in order to continue to be a powerful agent in the postmodern world.


Social Justice

BLST 124 "Housing, Inheritance, and Race" with Professor Stephanie Arguera

MTW 12:00pm-1:20pm

Course Description:Housing discrimination systematically skews opportunities and life chances in the United States across racial lines. This course examines the origins and evolution of fair housing laws, and the role that housing plays in asset accumulation, inheritance, and wealth.

BLST 174 "From Plantations to Prisons" with Professor Jaime Alves

WRF 11:00am-12:20pm

Course Description: Provides a critical perspective on current patterns of policing and mass incarceration in the United States and beyond. The course examines the historical roots and ideological justifications for police and prison and how notions of crime and order shape the ways we understand and justify and justify anti-Black policing policies. Focuses on fighting-crime strategies (such as one-strike, zero tolerance and the war on drugs) and their deepening of social vulnerabilities along gender, race, sexuality and class lines. Engages with abolitionist responses to neoliberal carcerality and its prison industrial complex.


Spring 2022

Foundations of Black Studies:

BLST 2 “Black Globalization” with Professor Jaime Alves

MW  2pm-3:15pm

Course Description: Explains the process of Globalization from the XV Century - when the very concept of race appeared in discourse - to the present through the lenses of the Black experience. The texts, films and lecture presentations counter the historiographical erasure of people of African descent in the making of the Modern World, foregrounds the critical role that Black subject played in both the Old and New Worlds and postulates that Globalization could not have ever taken place without their contributions.

BLST 49B "Survey of African History" with Professor Rudolph Ware

TR 9:30-10:45am

Course Description: 1800 - 1945. History 49-A-B-C is a general survey course designed to introduce students to major themes in African history. The course focuses on African civilizations and identities, European colonial conquests, governance and colonial economies, African resistance and engagement with global capitalism. Weekly discussion sections are an important feature of this course, enabling students to develop and expand upon material presented during lecture.


Black Culture:

BLST 106 "Woman and Politics of the Body" with Professor Omise’eke Tinsley

TR 11:00am-12:15pm

Course Description: Examines the relationship between race and gender in the construction of bodily politics that include perceptions of beauty and femininity. In understanding how race and gender matter in conceptualizations of beauty, this course centers Black women's bodies as important sites of resistance.

BLST 117 "Slavery & Modernity" with Professor Jaime Alves

MW 5:00pm-6:15pm

Course Description: An interdisciplinary examination of Black slavery as both a historical event and an enduring condition. The course highlights the foundational role of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade in the making of European modernity, the white subject of rights and the black dispossessed nonbeing, liberal democracy, and contemporary regimes of black captivities. Special focus is given to the political and economic history of the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil as slavocracies and to the incomplete project of emancipation that renders Black citizenship at best elusive. Critical transnational perspective highlights the spatio-temporal continuum between plantation regimes and contemporary global racial apartheid.

BLST 133 "Gender and Sexuality In Black Studies" with Professor Terrence Wooten

TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Course Description: Examines the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and class in creating disadvantage and advantage. In examining how racism, sexism, and heterosexism shape Black life chances in a 21st century context, this course focuses on systems of oppression that exist within and outside Black communities.

BLST 153 "Black Popular Music" wth Professor Omise’eke Tinsley

TR 2:00pm-3:15pm

Course Description: A critical survey of African-American popular styles since 1950. The course is style specific but also addresses the music's relationship to other aspects of popular culture.

BLST 171 "Africa in Film" with Dr. Jude Akudinobi

TR 8:00am-9:13am

Course Description: Explores, with examples from dominant (Hollywood) cinema and African cinema, what the sample films show about the relationship between ideology and representation, especially the reference points through which Africa functions as a site of complex and conflicting meanings.

BLST 172 "Contemporary Black Cinema" with Professor Stephanie Arguera

MW 9:30am-10:45am

Course Description: The course explores the new directions in African-American cinema with emphasis on the directors, the aesthetics and the social content of contemporary Black film. The problems of production, distribution, and exhibition will be examined.


Seminar for Minors:

BLST 180 "Capstone Seminar for Minors" with Dr. Jude Akudinobi

TR 9:30am-10:45am

Course Description: Capstone seminar for minors designed to strengthen students' reasoning, writing, and research skills, as well as highlight how the Black Studies minor will enhance their major degree(s).


Senior Thesis Courses:

BLST 190C "Senior Thesis Seminar in Black Studies" with Professor Ingrid Banks

TR 3:30-4:45pm

Course Description: Focus on continuing analysis and data discussion and completing the senior thesis.

BLST 190CH "Honors Thesis Seminar in Black Studies" with Professor Ingrid Banks

TR 3:30-4:45pm

Course Description: Focus on continuing analysis and data discussion, completing the senior honors thesis, and preparing to present an academic paper at the departmental Spring Colloquium for earning distinction (honors) in the major.


Winter 2022

Foundations of Black Studies:

Map of African Diaspora migrationsBLST 1 “Intro to African American Studies” with Professor Terrence Wooten

TR 11am-12:30pm

Course Description: Explores historical and current social conditions of Black people in the United States. Topics include the following: origins of Black Studies; chattel slavery and resistance; Reconstruction; Jim Crow segregation; Harlem Renaissance; Black Nationalism; structural racism and anti-Blackness; Civil Rights and Black Power Movements; racial wealth gap; critical race theory and Neo-liberalism; carcerality and the prison industrial complex; white privilege and rage; and the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality in shaping Black identity and life chances. As a 5 unit course, BLST 1 is reading and writing intensive, with a focus on developing research skills through a Black Studies lens.

BLST 3 “Intro to African Studies” with Professor Christopher McAuley

MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

Course Description: A survey of the subject matter, themes, and methods of African Studies. While briefly surveying the prehistory and early states of Africa, the course focuses on the culture and society of the colonial and independence eras.

BLST 7 “Intro to Caribbean Studies” with Professor Omise’eke Tinsley

TR 9:30am-10:45am

Course Description: A survey of the culture and society of the Caribbean. After surveying Amerindian communities and examining the impact of the Atlantic slave trade, focus will be on slavery, emancipation, African and Creole cultures, and the issues accompanying an independent nationhood status.


Black Culture:

BLST 14 “The History of Jazz” with Professor Jeffrey Stewart

TR 11am-12:15pm

Course Description: A survey of the historical origins and development of jazz, beginning with the West African heritage and the African-American folk tradition, and examining the social and cultural context of this twentieth-century music.



BLST 49C “African History Survey” *

TR 5pm-6:15pm

Course Description: 1945 to present. History 49-A-B-C is a general survey course designed to introduce students to major themes in African history. The course focuses on colonialism and decolonization, nationalism and self-liberation, development and neocolonialism, Cold War contexts, as well as African experiences of independence and the everyday in our contemporary, global world. Weekly discussion sections are an important feature of this course, enabling students to develop and expand upon material presented during lecture.

*This course is cross-listed with HIST49C

BLST 50 “Blacks in the Media” with Professor Jude Akudinobi

TR 8am-9:15am

Course Description: The development of Black stereotypes. Studying literature, comic books, comic strips, cartoons, music, theater, cinema, broadcasting, and television, students analyze the mythical imageries which have created stereotypes.

BLST 138 “African Religions in the Americas” with Professor Roberto Strongman

TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Course Description: A study of Neo-African religions in the Americas, with special emphasis on Haitian Vodou. Beliefs, myths, philosophical perspectives, moral order, rituals and practices as well as social and political dynamics are examined in various contemporary religious communities. Women's roles and sexuality issues are also explored.

BLST 175 “Black Diaspora Cinema” with Professor Cortana

TR 5pm-6:15pm

Course Description: Survey of Black cinematic expressions from the Americas, Europe and Africa as they articulate and negotiate racial, cultural and gendered identities. Analysis of these films will be related to specific national cinemas, narrative categories, representational strategies and aesthetic forms.


Social Justice:

BLST 104 “Black Marxism” with Professor Christopher McAuley

MW 3:30pm-4:45pm

Course Description: A theoretical explication and critique of the diverse Marxian analyses developed in Africa and the African Diaspora from the early 20th century. The course traces and analyzes the divergences of Black Marxisms from Western Marxism.

BLST 122 “The Education of Black Children” with Professor Stephanie Arguera

MW 9:30am-10:45am

Course Description: Explores the effects of social, political, and economic forces on the history of Black education. Examines ways of challenging the impacts of race, class, gender, and language in the educational achievement of Black children. Focuses on anti-bias/multicultural curricula in urban settings. Fieldwork required.

BLST 129 “Black Cities: Spatial Politics of Violence, Power, and Resistance” with Professor Joaquin Noguera

MW 3:30pm-4:45pm

Course Description: Examines spatial dynamics of anti-Blackness and spatial politics of resistance in relational and comparative geographical perspectives. Study of colonial histories of spatial violence and current patterns of residential segregation, homelessness, and police brutality, as well as the struggle for urban citizenship in societies of the African Diaspora. The goal of the course is threefold: a) it analyzes institutional 

policies and mundane practices that produce cityscapes as anti-Black; b) it interrogates the Marxist-oriented framework on "the right to the city;" and c) it gives visibility to Black gendered spatial praxes that challenge exclusionary city politics and their attending geographies of anti-Blackness.

BLST 154 “Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice” with Professor Jeffrey Stewart

TR 2pm-3:15pm

Course Description: This course investigates environmental injustice-that some people, especially poorer people, bear a disproportionate burden of living in communities with environmental hazards-and environmental racism-that a high coincidence exists between the location of toxic waste sites and Black and Brown communities, even when they are predominantly middle class.




Gender and Sexuality

BLST 125 “Queer Black Studies” with Professor Roberto Strongman

TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Course Description: An exploration of the intersection of Black Studies and Queer Studies from various theoretical, literary, historical, and multi-media perspectives. Cultural producers studied include: Audre Lorde, Marlon Riggs, Bayard Rustin, and Bruce Nugent.

BLST 136 “Black Feminist Thought” with Professor Lyons

MW 11am-12:15pm

Course Description: Examines past and contemporary scholarship in Black feminist thought. By examining the intervention of Black feminist thought within mainstream feminist theory and the field of Black Studies, this course presents a critical examination of the theoretical and practical contributions of Black feminist scholars.

BLST 151 “Gender and Cinema” with Professor Jude Akudinobi

TR 9:30am-10:45am

Course Description: Critical explorations of aesthetic, narrative, thematic, ideological, cultural and interdisciplinary configurations which frame representations of femininities, masculinities, and sexualities in African cinema. The complex dynamics between art and society, issues of identity, difference, agency, resistance, and change, will be explored.





Please Contact Theresa Rodriguez (Theresarodriguez@blackstudies.ucsb.edu) if interested in the courses.